Saturday, February 11, 2017

SAINT FLAVIAN OF CONSTANTINOPLE


St. Flavian of Constantinople

Patriarch of Constantinople, Martyr
Died 449
Hypaepa, Lydia, Asia Minor

Feast day: February 18



Patriarch of Constantinople from 446 or 447, succeeding St. Proclus. Refusing to give Em­peror Theodosius II a bribe upon becoming patriarch and making the emperor's sister Pulcherius a deaconess, Flavian received hostile treat­ment from the imperial court. Flavian also started the condemnation of Eutyches, who began the heresy of Monophysitism. This led to his being deposed and exiled at the so-called "Robber Synod" at Ephesus in 449, whereupon the famous "Tome" of dogmatic letters of Pope Leo I the Great was ignored. Appealing to the Pope, Flavian was beaten so mercilessly that he was mortally wounded and died three days later in exile. He was proclaimed a saint and martyr by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.


              St Flavian was a priest of distinguished merit, and treasurer of the church of Constantinople, when he succeeded St. Proclus in the archiepiscopal dignity in 447. The eunuch Chrysaphius, chamberlain to the emperor Theodosius the Younger, and a particular favourite, suggested to his master, a weak prince, to require of him a present, out of gratitude to the emperor for his promotion. The holy bishop sent him some blessed bread, according to the custom of the church at that time, as a benediction and symbol of communion. Chrysaphius let him know that it was a present of a very different kind that was expected from him. St. Flavian, an enemy to simony, answered resolutely that the revenues and treasure of the church were designed for other uses, namely, the honour of God and the relief Of his poor. The eunuch, highly provoked at the bishop's refusal, from that moment resolved to contrive his ruin. Wherefore, with a view to his expulsion, he persuaded the emperor, by the means of his wife Eudoxia, to order the bishop to make Pulcheria, sister to Theodosius, a deaconess of his church. The saint's refusal was a second offence in the eyes of the sycophants of the court. The next year Chrysaphius was still more grievously offended with our saint for his condemning the errors of his kinsman Eutyches, abbot of a monastery of three hundred monks, near the city, who had acquired a reputation for virtue, but in effect was no better than an ignorant, proud, and obstinate man. His intemperate zeal against Nestorius for asserting two distinct persons in Christ threw him into the opposite error, that of denying two distinct natures after the incarnation.

In a council, held by St. Flavian in 448, Eutyches was accused of this error by Eusebius of Dorylaeum, his former friend, and it was there condemned as heretical, and the author was cited to appear to give an account of his faith. On the day appointed in the last summons he appeared before the council, but attended by two of the principal officers of the court, and a troop of the imperial guards. Being admitted and interrogated on the point in question, that is, his faith concerning the incarnation; he declared that he acknowledged indeed two natures before the union, but after it only one. To all reasonings and authority produced against his tenet, his reply was that he did not come thither to dispute, but to satisfy the assembly what his faith was. The council, upon this, anathematized and deposed him, and St. Flavian pronounced the sentence, which was subscribed by thirty-two bishops and twenty-three abbots, of which last eighteen were priests. Eutyches said privately to his guards that he appealed to the bishops of Rome, Egypt, and Jerusalem; and in a letter he wrote to St. Leo, to complain of his usage in the council, he endeavoured to impose on the pope. But his holiness being informed of the state of the affair by St. Flavian, wrote to him an ample declaration of the orthodox faith upon the point, which was afterwards read, and inserted in the acts of the council of Chalcedon, in which the errors of Eutyches were solemnly condemned. Chrysaphius, however, had interest enough with the weak emperor to obtain an order for a re-examination of the cause between St. Flavian and Eutyches in another council. This met in April 449, consisting of about thirty bishops, one-third whereof had assisted at the late council. St. Flavian being looked on as a party, Thalassius, Bishop of Caesarea, presided in his room. After the strictest scrutiny into every particular, the impiety of Eutyches and the justice of our saint's proceedings clearly appeared. St. Flavian presented to the emperor a profession of his faith, wherein he condemned the errors of both Eutyches and Nestorius, his adversaries pretending that he favoured the latter.

Chrysaphius, though baffled in his attempts, was still bent on the ruin of the holy bishop, and employed all his craft and power to save Eutyches and destroy Flavian. With this view he wrote to Dioscorus, a man of a violent temper, who had succeeded St. Cyril in the patriarchal see of Alexandria, promising him his friendship and favour in all his designs if he would undertake the defence of the deposed abbot against Flavian and Eusebius. Dioscorus came into his measures; and, by their joint interest with the empress Eudoxia, glad of an opportunity to mortify Pulcheria, who had a high esteem for our saint, they prevailed with the emperor to order a council to be called at Ephesus, to determine the dispute. Dioscorus was invited by the emperor to come and preside in it, accompanied with ten metropolitans and other bishops, together with the archimandrite, or abbot Barsumas, a man strongly attached to Eutyches and Dioscorus. The like directions were sent to the other patriarchs. St. Leo, who was invited, though late, sent legates to act in his name, Julius, Bishop of Puteoli, Renatus, a priest, who died on the road, Hilarius, a deacon, and Dulcitius, a notary. He sent by them a learned letter to St. Flavian, in which he taxes the ignorance of Eutyches in the holy scriptures, and explains the Catholic doctrine against that heresiarch, which he also did by other letters.

The false council of Ephesus, for the violences therein used commonly. called the Latrocinale, was opened on the 8th of August, in 449, and consisted of one hundred and thirty bishops, or their deputies, from Egypt and the East. Eutyches was there, and two officers from the emperor with a great number of soldiers. Every thing was carried on, by violence and open faction, in favour of Eutyches, by those officers and bishops who had espoused his party and formed a cabal. The pope's legates were never suffered to read his letters to the council. The final result of the proceedings was to pronounce sentence of deposition against St. Flavian and Eusebius. The pope's legates protested against the sentence. Hilarius, the deacon, cried out aloud, "contradicitur," opposition is made; which Latin word was inserted in the Greek acts of the synod. And Dioscorus no sooner began to read the sentence but he was interrupted by several of the bishops, who, prostrating themselves before him, besought him, in the most submissive terms, to proceed no further in so unwarrantable an affair. Upon this he starts up and calls aloud for the imperial commissioners, Elpidius and Eulogius, who, without more ado, ordered the church doors to be set open; upon which Proclus, the proconsul of Asia, entered surrounded with a band of soldiers, and followed by a confused multitude, with chains, clubs, and swords. This struck such a terror into the whole assembly that when the bishops were required by Dioscorus and his creatures to subscribe, few or none had the courage to withstand his threats, the pope's legates excepted, who protested aloud against these violent proceedings—one of whom was imprisoned; the other, Hilarius, got off with much difficulty, and came safe to Rome. St. Flavian, on hearing the sentence read by Dioscorus, appealed from him to the holy see, and delivered his acts of appeal in writing to the pope's legates, then present. This so provoked Dioscorus that, together with Barsumas and others of their party, after throwing the holy bishop on the ground, they so kicked and bruised him that he died within a few days, in 449, not at Ephesus, as some have said by mistake, but in his exile at Epipus, two days' journey from that city, situated near Sardes in Lydia, as Marcellinus testifies in his chronicle.

The council being over, Dioscorus, with two of his Egyptian bishops, had the insolence to excommunicate St. Leo. But violence and injustice did not triumph long. For the emperor's eyes being opened on his sister Pulcheria's return to court, whom the ambition of Chrysaphius had found means to remove in the beginning of these disturbances, the eunuch was disgraced and soon after put to death; and the empress Eudoxia obliged to retire to Jerusalem. The next year the emperor died, as Cedrenus says, penitent; and Pulcheria, ascending the throne in 450, ordered St. Flavian's body to be brought with great honour to Constantinople, and there magnificently interred among his predecessors in that see. St. Leo had, upon the first news of these proceedings, wrote to him to comfort him, as also to Theodosius, Pulcheria, and the clergy of Constantinople in his defence. The general council of Chalcedon declared him a saint and martyr, and paid great honours to his memory, in 451. The same council honourably restored Eusebius of Dorylaeum to his see. Pope Hilarius, who had been St. Leo's legate at Ephesus, had so great a veneration for the saint that he caused the martyrdom to be represented in Mosaic work, in the church which he built in ho our of the holy cross. The wicked Dioscorus was condemned by the council of Chalcedon in 451, and died obstinate and impenitent in the Eutychian heresy, and his other crimes, in his banishment at Gangres, in 454.

It was the glory of St. Flavian to die a martyr of the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God. This is the fundamental article of the Christian religion, and, above all other mysteries, challenges our most profound homages and constant devotion. In it hath God displayed, in the most incomprehensible manner, the astonishing immensity of his power, mercy, wisdom, and love, the contemplation of which will be the sweet occupation of angels and saints to all eternity. The servants of God on earth find their greatest delight in meditating on this great mystery, and in profound adoration and transports of love, honouring, praising, and glorifying their divine Saviour, and studying to put on his spirit by the constant union in mind and heart, or of their thoughts and affections, with him. But as the incarnation is the mystery of the unfathomed humility of a God to heal the wound of our pride, it is only by humility, and the annihilation of creatures in our hearts, that we can be disposed to contemplate or honour it with fruit. The dreadful fall and impenitence of Eutyches, after he had renounced the world with a view to give himself to God, were owing to the fatal sin of a secret pride.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SAINT COLMAN OF LINDISFARNE


St. Colman of Lindisfarne



Feast Day: February 18

Born . 605 Ireland
Died 18 February 675 Ireland

Saint Colman was Bishop of Lindisfarne from 661 until 664
 England, a disciple of St. Columba. He was born in Connaught, Ireland. At the Synod of Whitby Colman defended the Celtic ecclesiastical practices against St. Eilfrid and St. Agilbert. When King Oswy introduced the Roman rites, Colman refused to accept the decision and led a group of Irish and English monks to the Isle of Innishboffin, near Connaught. In time he moved the English monks to Mayo. Colman was praised by Blessed Alcuin and St. Bede.


Colman was a native of the west of Ireland and had received his education on Iona. He was probably a nobleman of Canmaicne. Colman succeeded Aidan and Finan as bishop of Lindisfarne.Colman resigned the Bishopric of Lindisfarne after the Synod of Whitby called by King Oswiu of Northumbria decided to calculate Easter using the method of the First Ecumenical Council instead of his preferred Celtic method.

Later tradition states that between the years 665 AD and 667 AD, St. Colman founded several churches in Scotland before returning to Iona. However, there are no seventh-century records of such activity by him. From Iona he sailed for Ireland, settling at Inishbofin in 668 AD[5] where he founded a monastery. When Colman came to Mayo he brought with him half the relics of Lindisfarne, including the bones of St. Aidan and a part of the true cross. This was reputed to be in Mayo Abbey until its vanishment during the Reformation in 1537.

Colman was stepping into a landscape that had been decimated by the plague of 664-665 AD. He may have been reviving an earlier church on the island or one in the area in central Connacht where Mag √Čo was founded later. On Inishbofin a rift occurred between the Irish and the English ‘because in summer the Irish went off to wander on their own around places they knew instead of assisting at harvest, and then, as winter approached, came back and wanted to share whatever the English monks had gathered.’

What was the reason for their intermittent absence? Earlier commentators suspected that the two nations came from different agricultural backgrounds and that the Irish intermittently removed themselves from the island with the monastery’s livestock for the purpose of ‘booleying’, a form of transhumance. It is also possible that the Irish visited their kinsfolk on the mainland. Returning to the island in Winter, they helped to consume the fruits of the Saxons' labours. This situation inevitably led to tensions within the community. Disputes arose between the Saxon and Irish monks after a short time. Colman brought his Saxon followers onto the mainland and founded a monastery for them at "Magh Eo" - the Plain of Yew Trees, subsequently known as "Mayo of the Saxons".

SAINT CHARALAMPIAS

St. Charalampias



Feast Day: February 18

Death: 203

Martyr of Magnesia, in Asia Minor, with companions. He was a priest taken in the persecution of Emperor Septimius Severus. He was martyred with two soldiers and three women. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

BLESSED AGATHA LIN


St. Agatha Lin
Chinese martyr.

Feast Day: February 18

Birth: 1817

Death: 1858

 She was born in 1817 at Ma-Tchang, China. A teacher at a Christian school, Agatha was beheaded for the faith in Mao-kin on January 28, 1858.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

SAINT BENEDICT OF CAGLIARI

St. Benedict of Cagliari

Feast day: February 17


Death: 1112


Benedictine bishop of Dolia, Sardinia. He was a monk at the abbey of St. Saturninus in that city when he was made bishop in 1107. Serving for five years, Benedict retired to the basilica abbey.

SAINT ALEXIS FALCONIERI

St. Alexis Falconieri

Feast day: February 17


Patron of the city of Orvieto (Italy)


Birth: 1200


Death: 1310


Born in Florence, 1200; died 17 February, 1310, at Mount Senario, near Florence. He was the son of Bernard Falconieri, a merchant prince of Florence, and one of the leaders of the Republic. His family belonged to the Guelph party, and opposed the Imperialists whenever they could consistently with their political principles. Alexis grew up in the practice of the most profound humility. He joined the Laudesi, a pious confraternity of the Blessed Virgin, and there met the six future companions of his life of sanctity. He was favoured with an apparition of the Mother of God, 15 August, 1233, as were these companions. The seven soon afterwards founded the Order of the Servites. With consistent loyalty and heroism Alexis at one abandoned all, and retired to La Camarzia, a house on the outskirts of the town, and the following year to Mt. Senario. With characteristic humility, he traversed, as a mendicant, in quest of alms for his brethren, the streets of the city through which he had lately moved as a prominent citizen. So deep and sincere was him humility that, though he lived to the great age of hundred and ten years, he always refused to enter the priesthood, of which he deemed himself unworthy. The duties of our Saint were confined principally to the material needs of the various communities in which he lived. In 1252 the new church at Cafaggio, on the outskirts of Florence, was completed under his care, with the financial assistance of Chiarissimo Falconieri. The miraculous image of the Annunciation, still highly venerated in Italy, had its origin here. St. Juliana Falconieri, his niece, was trained in sanctity under his personal direction. The influence exerted on his countrymen by Alexis and his companions may be gathered from the fact that in a few years ten thousand persons had enrolled themselves under the banner of the Blessed Virgin in the Servite Order. At his death he was visited by the Infant Jesus in visible form, as was attested by eyewitnesses. His body rests near the church of the Annunciation, in Florence. Clement XI declared Alexis worthy of the veneration of the faithful, 1 December, 1717, and accorded the same honour to his six companions, 3 July 1725.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

BLESSED PHILIPPA MARERIA

Blessed Philippa Mareria,

Born  ..1195 at Mareri, Rieti, Italy

Died 16 February 1236 in Borgo San Pietro, Rieti, Italy

Beatified 30 April 1806 by Pope Pius VII (cultus confirmation; decree of heroic virtues)

Feast Day:  16 February



    After having met Saint Francis of Assisi in her parents’ home, she became a hermit on a mountain above Mareri, Italy. Poor Clare nun. Founded a Franciscan convent in Rieti, Italy with the help of Blessed Roger of Todi. Abbess.

 Born in Cicoli, Abruzzi, Italy; died at Rieti, Italy, 1236. Born into a wealthy family, Philippa met Saint Francis of Assisi in her parents' home. She decided 

to become a hermit on a mountain above Mareria. Eventually, she founded and ruled as first abbess a Franciscan convent at Rieti under the direction of Blessed Roger of Todi. 

About this time, St Francis often visited the valley of Rieti, where he established several convents and sometimes called at the home of the devout Mareri. His forceful admonitions, filled with holy simplicity and unction, and his severe life of penance made a deep impression on Philippa.

It was not long before Blessed Philippa Mareri resolved to imitate our holy Father, foregoing wealth and consecrating herself entirely to God. She rejected a proposal to marry with the words:

“I already have a spouse, the noblest and the greatest, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Neither the remonstrances of her parents, nor the ridicule of her brother Thomas, had any effect in changing her mind. She cut off her hair, donned a very coarse garment, and with several companions withdrew to a cave in the rocks of a nearby mountain. 




Friday, October 9, 2015

BLESSED BERNARD SCAMMACCA


Blessed Bernard Scammacca,
Born 1430 in Catania, Sicily

Died 11 January 1487 of natural causes
fifteen years after his death he appeared in a vision to the prior in Catania and asked that his remains be moved to the house’s rosary chapel
during this movement a man was cured of paralysis by touching the relics

Beatified 1825 by Pope Leo XII (cultus confirmed)

Born of wealthy and pious parents, Bernard was given a good education. In spite of this good training, he spent a careless youth. Only after he was badly injured in a duel was he brought back to his senses. His long convalescence gave him plenty of time to think, and once he was able to go out of the house, he went to the Dominican convent of Catania and begged to be admitted to the order.

 Bernard, as a religious, was the exact opposite of what he had been as a young man. Now he made no effort to obtain the things he had valued all his life, but spent his time in prayer, solitude, and continual penance. There is little recorded of his life, except that he kept the rule meticulously, and that he was particularly kind to sinners in the confessional. Apparently, he did not attain fame as a preacher, but was content to spend his time in the work of the confessional and the private direction
of souls.

 One legend pictures Bernard as having great power over birds and animals. When he walked outside in the gardens, praying, the birds would flutter down around him, singing; but as soon as he went into ecstasy, they kept still, for fear they would disturb him. Once, the porter was sent to Bernard's room to call him, and saw a bright light shining under the door. Peeking through the keyhole, he saw a beautiful child shining with light and holding a book, from which Bernard was reading. He
hurried to get the prior to see the marvel.

 Bernard had the gift of prophecy, which he used on several occasions to try warning people to amend their lives. He prophesied his own death.



Blessed Bernard devoted himself with generous ardour to the relief of the bodily and spiritual needs of his neighbours. Whilst preaching to others he failed not to expiate the sins of his youth by the practice of severe austerities. He died A.D. 1486. Fifteen years later he appeared to the Prior of the Convent, and bade him remove his remains to a more honourable resting-place. This was accordingly done, and the body was found incorrupt. During the whole of the ceremony the church-bells, untouched by mortal hands, rang out with heavenly melody. Miracles of all kinds were worked at Blessed Bernard's tomb. A nobleman who had been cured through his intercession resolved to remove the sacred remains to his castle, and came by night to the Convent with a troop of armed men to carry out his design. But the servant of God would not allow his body to be removed from the Convent where he had lived and died. Appearing in the dormitory, he knocked at every door, telling the Friars that violent hands were being laid on his body in the church; and as they delayed obeying his summons, which they thought to be only a dream, he began to ring the great bell. Then the Brethren hurried to the church, where they found the tomb empty, and the sacred body lying at the door, surrounded by armed men who were vainly endeavouring to raise it from the ground. It had miraculously become so heavy that the robbers were unable to move it. They took to flight at the approach of the Friars, who had not the slightest difficulty in restoring the precious remains to their resting-place.


BLESSED JOSEPH ALLAMANO

Bl. Joseph Allamano

Feast day: February 16

Birth: 1851

Death: 1926

Beatified By: Pope John Paul II



He was born on the 21st of January in 1851 at Castelnuovo d' Asti (now Castelnuovo Don Bosco) and died on the 16th of February 1926 in Turin (Italy).

He was a diocesan priest of the diocese of Turin and rector of the Shrine of Our Lady Consolata for forty years. Deeply in love with Mary under this title and open to the Spirit's promptings, he responded to the discerned will of God to form a group of priests and brothers called to share the Gospel in Africa.

As the Christian Community grew in number, it became evident that priests and brothers couldn't cater for the needs of women and children. From this realization the presence of Sisters in the Mission field was conceived. Joseph Allamano expressed this concern to the pope Pius X during a visit to the Vatican.

SAINT PAMPHILUS

St. Pamphilus

Feast day: February 16

Death: 309



Biblical scholar and a devotee of the controversial theologian Origen. From Berytus, in Phoenicia, Pamphilus studied in his native city and then at the famed Catechetical School of Alexandria, where he was taught by Pierius, a student of Origen.
             Ordained at Caesarea, Pamphilus became the head of a catechetical school there, and soon acquired a reputation for learning, biblical study, and the size and brilliance of his library. One of the students of this school was the historian Eusebius of Caesarea who held him in such high regard that he adopted the name Eusebius of Pamphilus. Arrested in 308 for being a Christian by Urban, the governor of Palestine, Pamphilus spent two years in prison before being beheaded as part of the Roman persecution of the faith.
              A number of others died in connection with his martyrdom, including a student named Porphyrius and a Cappadocian, Seleucus, who was accused of applauding Porphyrius aplomb in enduring torture. Pamphilus collaborated with Eusebius perhaps a fellow prisoner at some point on an Apology of Origen. Originally five books, only one book of the Apology has survived, and even this portion is of doubtful authenticity, perhaps being a Latin version undertaken by Rufinus of Aquileia. Eusebius added a sixth book after Pamphilus' martyrdom, wrote a biography of his beloved mentor of which fragments are still available, and praised him extravagantly in his Ecclesiastical History. Pamphilus' library survived in Alexandria until destroyed by the Arabs in the seventh century.